With just two weeks to go in the Heritage Junior Hockey League season and the playoffs looming, the Airdrie Techmation Thunder seem to be peaking at the right time.
The Thunder have a pair of two-game sweeps over the past two weekends and have moved comfortably into second place in the North Division of the HJHL.
After wins over Rocky Mountain House and Cochrane last weekend, Airdrie faced the Three Hills Thrashers on Friday night and the Mountainview Colts, the team chasing the Thunder in the north.
Three Hills would strike first on Friday night with a goal with just 15 seconds to play in the first. The second period belonged to Airdrie with Jacob Cathcart, Aidan Moore and Dylan Westlake scoring to make it 3 - 1. Westlake's goal was his first of the season and came short-handed.
Westlake liked the feel of scoring a goal so much that he doubled his output just over halfway through the third to give the Thunder a 4 - 1 cushion before Three Hills scored just over a minute later for the 4 - 2 final.
On Saturday the Thunder made the short trek to Didsbury to face the Colts. Airdrie would take a 2 - 1 lead after one period with Tanner Chapman and Dustin LeGrandeur scoring for the Thunder and Hayden Sotheran replying for Mountainview.
Airdrie would move in front by a pair in the second when Dace Carlson scored on a powerplay. Another powerplay marker from the stick of Paton Rothenbusch of the goals would make it a one-goal game heading into the third. It looked like the Thunder would take the game in regulation time when they went on the powerplay late in the period. However, the Colts' Sotheran scored shorthanded with just over a minute to play to send the game to overtime and eventually to a shootout. A very long shootout.
Each team would send eight shooters to centre ice and all but one were stopped by goaltenders Josh Feddeman of Airdrie and Chance Griffith of the Colts. The eighth Thunder shooter, Tanner Chapman, was the only to score a goal and give the Thunder their 4 - 3 victory. Through regulation and overtime, Feddema had 48 shots fired his way while the Thunder managed 35 against Griffith.
The Thunder now sport a 21-win, 12-loss, and two overtime-loss record for the year, good for 44 points. Airdrie is six points behind first-place Sylvan Lake and lead the Colts by the same six-point margin.
Two more games are on the Thunder's schedule next weekend. On Friday they'll be in tough when they host the Okotoks Carstar Bisons starting at 8:00 pm in the Ron Ebbesen Arena. The Bisons are running away in the South Division of the league and have lost just three times this season.
On Saturday, Airdrie will face the Vipers at the Servus Arena in Red Deer.
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